Reflecting on the first open house


Two people joined me last Sunday to play a session of The Pool by James V. West. This is an influential, free RPG from 2001. I have included a link to the original PDF at the bottom of the post for people who are interested.

We played a modified version based on my play experience and things I learned in a course I took with Ron Edwards called Playing with the Pool (which I highly recommend if it is offered again). His other courses are stellar too. More information can be found on Ron's site Adept Play.

The scenario we played was something like the TV show Lost. The player characters were stranded on a tropical island after their flight from Montreal to Cuba was redirected into the Bermuda Triangle. I won't spoil the content too much since we plan to play again and we left off in a place where new players could easily join. In this session, we saw an unremarkable accountant with ESP and a tongue-in-cheek anarcho-capitalist computer security consultant help organize the food, water, and shelter situation for the survivors of the plane crash. We also learned that the plane crash was orchestrated and that the island has other inhabitants, including a billionaire and a giant centipede.

Since this was an open house, I had no way to predict how many people would attend, who would attend, what their experience level was, or their interests. So I prepared a ensemble situation that I thought would work for a small or a large group. In my opinion The Pool is a great choice because it is tends to meet people half-way. There is no fixed setting, genre, and preparation requires input from the players, who have a lot of latitude in the characters they will play. Therefore, I find it easy to adapt on-the-fly when certain variables about the group are unknown. We ended up having a blast. One player took a copy of the rules home with them because they were so enthralled by the game system.

I plan to host these open houses every Sunday, at the same time and place. I will post an announcement soon for this Sunday, April 30th, 2023. We have the option of continuing to play this scenario or I have a few other options in mind in case the original players are not present or we feel like playing something different. That's the spirit of these events: come as you are, we will find something to play.

The Pool by James V. West: thepool.pdf